WHY FEMALE-LED FILMS EARN MORE AT THE BOX OFFICE

WHY FEMALE-LED FILMS EARN MORE AT THE BOX OFFICE

There’s a huge untapped audience hungry for movies with a fresh point of view and female-led films are the ticket.

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SUPERHERO TREND

Captain Marvel opened in theaters recently and smashed the box office with a $153 million dollar opening.  Why is it so successful?  Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and the tech firm shift7 conducted a study on female-led films. The authors were featured in the article Films Starring Women Earn More Money Than Male-Led Movies, Says New Study.

One of the authors, CAA agent Christy Haubegger offered her insight. She said “ Women make up more than half the movie going audience and only a third of the protagonists.”  This creates a built in bonanza for innovative films  – like female-led films – which stand out in a crowded marketplace.

FRESH STORIES

The audience is tired of rehashed stories. So when a new hero – a woman – comes on to the scene – the audience laps it up. And not just the female audience. The article also said that “The thing that surprises people is that films with female characters appeal certainly to women, but to everybody. People are simply seeking innovations of stories they haven’t seen yet.”

THE NUMBERS

High or low budgeted films, female-led films earn more. In the article Female-Led Films Perform Better at the Box Office,  it reported that “The top movies from 2014 to 2017 starring women earned more than male-led films, where they were made for less than $10 million or for $100 million or more.”

In the article Oscars 2018: Female-led Oscar Films ‘More Profitable’ it said “Female-led films earn higher box office returns – despite usually lower production budgets. On average, every dollar invested in a female-led film earns back $2.12 (£1.53). For male-led films this figure is $1.59 (£1.15).”

A MARKETING ASSET

The article said that “The research also found that films that passed the Bechdel test – which measure whether two female characters have a conversation about something other than a man- outperformed those that flunked it”.

Christy Haubegger, the study’s co-author said “Female leads are marketing asset”.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Female-led films are hitting it big at the box office. But there are far reaching effects more than box office receipts.

In the article,‘Captain Marvel’ Could Be a Game Changer for Female-Led Films, Superhero Flicks, it said “With its historic induction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and into pop culture as a whole, young girls who may not have seen themselves represented in their favorite superhero movies will have a chance to connect with Danvers.”

PRODUCERS: QUESTION “CONVENTIONAL WIDSOM”

However despite the numbers, many producers blindly follow conventional wisdom that erroneously believes female led films don’t make money. And besides – it’s just a movie or TV show. Right?

Wrong. Haubegger contends that having female-led content “…changes what we see in ourselves and what we see in other people. You can’t be what you can’t imagine. So let’s look at films on their merit and quality and use real comps, not assumptions. I mean it’s show business not show art!”

SUMMARY

Above all, get the facts ( look at the box office numbers). Yes female-led films do make money and in most cases – more than male-led films.

Being inclusive, female led films and diverse casting will add to your bottom line. Inclusion = innovation. And there’s an audience hungry for innovative stories.

NOW WHAT?

Marvel doesn’t have a monopoly on strong female characters. And if your film wants to get a piece of their pie –  add some strong female characters to your film. Give Marvel a run for their money. That’s what I plan to do with my female-led China co-productions.

Who’s your favourite female hero? Leave a comment below.

 

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